Monday, February 25, 2013

Punched Tin Lantern and Metal Cup (no.93)

16.75" x 10" x 3/4", oil on masonite


If you'd like to purchase a print of this painting, please feel free to visit my Etsy shop!

This is a revisitation of an old scene taken from around June of last year at our friend's lake house in NH.  I began painting shortly after taking the photo during the summer and it had crashed and burned before I was able to finish.  Instead of holding on to the failed painting in case I might want to go back to it after a while, I gessoed over it and erased any evidence of it's existence aside from the source photo (as I am prone to do).  Since beginning this exercise a year and a half ago, I've tried to be less rash in how I handle paintings that don't work out, but it's near impossible for me to have the reminder staring me in the face.  Something about it makes me feel very uneasy and unable to move on to the next piece without feeling distracted by the one that's half done (kind of like how I can't begin painting before I know the bed's guys know what I'm talking about right? No? Maybe there are deeper issues at work here). 

So, while I wasn't able to hold on to the old painting, this is the first time I've actually wandered knee deep into a painting, discarded it, and gave it another chance later on.  I had got it to a point I really liked right before it derailed the first time, and that gave me enough motivation to try it again.  I am constantly haunted by the feeling that there is so much work to do and so little time (and I am constantly behind on my own schedule), so I think this contributes to the fear that I will get hung up on the same mistakes as last time, will grow tired of the subject again and then will find myself with 2 wasted painting sessions instead of 1 (or I should say painting sessions that haven't yielded any actual paintings - wasted is a little harsh). 

And my fears came true: I got caught up on the same areas that I did last time (mainly the poked hole patterns on the lantern and the entire metal cup).  But this time I was able to work through the frustration and make it to the other side, and I have to say it's a good feeling to do justice to an idea you like but an even better feeling to have saved a painting from yourself and finally finished it months later on a 2nd try.  It gives me hope in the power of perseverance and shows me that sometimes spending way longer on a piece than you think is sufficient can return everything to you that you invested in it. 

As I think I've insinuated in earlier posts, almost every painting I've ever done has come with it's set of very difficult problems.  There is some point at which I start to view
 the painting as constantly trying to catch me off guard.  Quicksand is also an accurate metaphor: the more I struggle (or the faster/harder I paint to cover up something I don't like) the further I sink (the more I flatten out what I had and make it worse than before).  The key is slowing down and reminding yourself that the inanimate piece of wood in front of you is probably not deliberately trying to sabotage your happiness (although I can't be sure of that).  This step is the hardest for me, and it is teaching me what a necessary role patience can play in the act of painting. 

I am not aware of the stories behind the particular items in this painting: they are just another small fragment of a place I have grown very sentimental about and hope to visit again soon.  I hope they do something for you, too.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Night Sink (no.92)

7.95" x 7.95" x 3/4", oil on masonite panel


This is how it would look framed (actual painting does not include frame):